Category: England

Audiobook Series Spotlight and Mini-Review | “Cradle to Grave” (Book Eight: the Kay Hunter Detective series) by Rachel Amphlett, narrated by Alison Campbell

Posted Wednesday, 6 November, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I have embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions. Through hosting for the Audiobookworm I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods (ie. AudioShelf and Talking Audiobooks; see my sidebar). Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue whilst making purchase requests for audio CDs. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I am hoping to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year starting in 2018.

Similar to the blog tour for the sixth novel of the #KayHunter series, the blog tour review copies are being provided directly by the author off-site from Audible. The key reason I decided to not accept the review copies from “Gone to Ground”, “Bridge to Burn” and “Cradle to Grave” is because the new format is mostly directed for mobile listeners and I do not listen to audiobooks in that style of format. Eventually as I want to have a full set of all the Kay Hunter installments – I will be purchasing the ones I am missing from Audible to house them all in one place unless I find them available on mp3 CD – until then, I was able to join this lovely blog tour because the audiobooks are readily available via Scribd! For which, I am especially grateful as I can continue to listen to one of my beloved and favourite Crime Drama series!

Thereby my copy of “Cradle to Grave” is self-provided through my subscription to Scribd rather than being provided with a complimentary copy of the story. Thereby, I am choosing to participate on the audiobook tour, sharing my ruminations with my readers for my own edification but also, as a continuation of a reader’s love for a dramatic crime serial. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What held me in the throes of “Bridge to Burn” and why I was itching for the next novel:

As soon as Kay walked onto the crime scene, I felt like it was old home week again – being treated to seeing another view of her life and to catch-up with the friends I’ve found along the way of peering into her world. In classic Kay Hunter fashion, she quite assessed what was happening with the investigation – whilst her team was close at hand, doing their bit and at the ready to give her the details of what they’d come to understand in the initial analysis of the scene. There were a few changes in their designations – as Kay herself was recently promoted but it was the announcement that Barnes had followed her suit of promoting himself which was quite the lovely news. I still remember how anguished he was over making that choice and why he was hesitating to do it. Seems like between then and now, he’s resolved that this would not only be a good choice for himself but it would allow the close cohesiveness of the team to remain intact. On that level, I was relieved as sometimes if you upset the apple cart, you simply can’t re-establish what you’ve lost.

Harriet never fails to make me smile – then again, I have a soft spot for Medical Examiners and Crime Scene Investigators as that is what originally drew me into NCIS (x3) outside of the fact I simply find Mark Harmon charmingly engaging! She has such a keen sense of self about her and she knows how to keep the scene at hand serious but with a calming bit of levity as well – something I love to see as their lives are stressful enough without having to find some way of alleviating the difficult things they’re having to witness.

Amphlett never fails to knit her continuity tightly anchoured to the previous installments – it is one of the wicked best reasons why I love listening to to this series, as she honestly never lets you forget the moments in her characters’ lives which are intimately important to remember. Herein, when she was having Kay reminisce about her miscarriage you felt immediately drawn back to the installments which discussed this and how it was such an upheaval for Kay and Adam. Of how they drew closer together, how they tried not to let their family try their patience and how putting the pieces together to move forward was one small step at a time. Still, like any tragic loss – her grief lingers, even years on as there are small reminders everywhere about how others can enjoy the blessings of motherhood whilst she cannot. It was a simple inclusion right in the midst of the workday but it was important because it owned the truth of who Kay Hunter is and of how intricately connected this series becomes to her sense of self, her psychological state of mind and how she emotionally processes her job.

It wasn’t until lateron when Adam was brought into scene where we pulled back the layers of Kay’s healing and recovery (as it wasn’t simply a miscarriage which affected her heart, soul and mind) – where we peer into how hard it has been for her to continue to transition beyond what afflicted their lives. They were both emotionally distraught not just to the loss of a child but due to everything during that period of time which not only frayed their nerves but nearly overtook their ability to survive. Adam and Kay have a very strong marriage but even a strong marriage can have a breaking point – Amphlett has never shied away from honing in on the honesty of their marriage and for showing the realistic ways in which a couple comes back from the loss of their child.

If this is the first installment someone wanted to listen to they would be dearly impressed because it held within it a recapture of all the key moments and timeline of the series thus far along. They would find out within one installment why I’ve become so dearly attached to this cast and the drama behind their lives inasmuch as how much they support one another like all families do who work together. I am fond of the ‘family’ knitted together like this – where its a found family story and it speaks to why all the crime dramas I watch on television are of the same kinship of closeness.

What I loved about this installment were the interactions between Kay, Barnes, Sharpe, Gaven and the rest of the team – they keep drawing closer together, re-forming the bonds they share as a ‘found family’ and prove that despite the high risks associated with their job, they truly care about one another. There are lovely details towards exploring this bond they have – such as the pizza party, the breakfast food runs and the ways in which they look out for Kay, understanding her emotional traumas and how as a family unit they never leave anyone behind.

Bridge to Burn also focused more intuitively on Kay’s Mum, Dad and sister – there was a family emergency which took Adam and Kay outside their routines over a weekend to where they had to travel over six hours to reach the family. During this sequence, Amphlett re-highlights the strain Kay has with her mother, the closeness she shares with her sister and how her father gives her unconditional support. A lot of what was fracturing the relationship with Kay and her mother are explored more in-depth as well – a lot of which surprised me, as I never thought Kay’s Mum would be open to meditation but you find out why she came to that new stage of reconciliation as something pushed her towards that goal with Kay. They’re not entirely on solid footing – as they have a chasm as wide as the Grand Canyon between them but ooh! You don’t want to miss their exchanges of dialogue — listening to how Ms Campbell approached their scenes nearly makes you want to reach for the tissues!

-quoted from my review of Bridge to Burn

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Audiobook Series Spotlight and Mini-Review | “Cradle to Grave” (Book Eight: the Kay Hunter Detective series) by Rachel Amphlett, narrated by Alison CampbellCradle to Grave
Subtitle: A Detective Kay Hunter novel
by Rachel Amphlett
Source: Scribd | Subscription
Narrator: Alison Campbell

When a faceless body is found floating in the river on a summer's morning, Detective Kay Hunter and her team are tasked with finding out the man's identity and where he came from.

The investigation takes a sinister turn when an abandoned boat is found, covered in blood stains and containing a child's belongings. Under mounting pressure from a distraught family and an unforgiving media, the police are in a race against time - but they have no leads and no motive for the events that have taken place.

Will Kay be able to find a ruthless killer and a missing child before it's too late?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781916098817

ASIN: B07YZ63BBV

Also by this author: Scared to Death, Will to Live, One to Watch, Hell to Pay, Call to Arms, Author Inteview: Rachel Amphlett (Gone to Ground), Gone to Ground, Bridge to Burn

Also in this series: Scared to Death, Will to Live, One to Watch, Hell to Pay, Call to Arms, Gone to Ground, Bridge to Burn


Genres: Crime Fiction, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Police Procedural, Thriller


Published by Saxon Publishing

on 15th October, 2019

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 7 hours, 56 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: Saxon Publishing

Audiobooks by: Audiobook Factory (@audiofactoryuk)

Order of the Kay Hunter Detective series:
Scared to Death | Book One (see also Review)
Will to Live | Book Two (see also Review)
One to Watch | Book Three (see also Review)
Hell to Pay | Book Four (see also Review)
Call to Arms | Book Five (see also Review)
Gone to Ground | Book Six (see also Review)
Bridge to Burn | Book Seven (see also Review)
Cradle to Grave | Book Eight

About Rachel Amphlett

Rachel Amphlettt

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore's TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 6 November, 2019 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), British Literature, Crime Fiction, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Detective Fiction, England, Good vs. Evil, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Indie Author, Lady Detective Fiction, Mental Health, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Psychological Suspense, Realistic Fiction, Sociological Behavior, True Crime

#SpooktasticReads Audiobook Review | “Death on the River” (Book Two: Tara Thorpe Mysteries) by Clare Chase, narrated by Lucy Brownhill [an audiobook I began listening to during #FraterfestRAT 2019]

Posted Wednesday, 23 October, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , 1 Comment

#SpooktasticReads Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: In the months since August 2018, I decided to switch memberships to Scribd due to the reduction in cost for a subscription based service for audiobooks – however, I still have an active account on Audible and still use it to listen to audiobooks – either those I’ve purchased (past/ present), the complimentary ones I receive for review and/or the ones I’m either gifted or have won in giveaways. I took a brief hiatus in my subscription services for Scribd – especially from June-October 2019; resuming the service on 24th October during the #SpooktasticReads readathon.

I previously placed a pre-order for the first audiobook in this series “Murder on the Marshes” whilst I submitted a purchase request (for the print edition) at my local library for the third novel “Death Comes to Call”; which they accepted and the book is being added to their card catalogue this Autumn 2019.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Death on the River” direct from the publisher Bookouture in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

It should be noted: I did host an interview with the author, Clare Chase and she provided the Press Materials for this series to use on both the interview and on my review if I elected to share one. She was a guest via my chat on Twitter showcasing Romance & Women’s Fiction (inclusive of all sub-genres) @SatBookChat on the 27th of October, 2018 to discuss this series and her character Tara Thorpe.

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Why I was thankful to begin “Death on the River” during #FraterfestRAT 2019 and how it has become a tradition of mine to read a Claire Chase Thriller:

Unfortunately, due to my health afflictions throughout [2018] and the increased frequencies of my chronic migraines – I had a lot of trouble shifting back into reading and/or listening to the audiobooks I had planned to focus on for review considerations. This is one of the audiobooks I had to push forward until I could give it my full attention. Due to the distance from acquiring it and when I could honestly listen to it – the series has evolved rather quickly! As I noticed each of the individual installments of this series released quite frequently back-to-back without too much delay between them.

Since my review of “Murder on the Marshes” this series has grown and has become a complete set of four stories which are the following: Murder on the Marshes, Death on the River, Death Comes to Call and Murder in the Fens.

One observation did sadden me – I cannot find the release dates for the next two audiobooks as the previous two installments were released shortly after the ebook and paperbacks. I was hoping Ms Brownhill was commissioned to narrate the third and fourth novels given how attached I’ve become in hearing her embrace the characters – giving us a wholly organic evolution of their essences and placing us directly in an emotionally complex series which you honestly don’t want to beg off for sleep! I’ll simply have to remain hopeful further announcements will eventually be made if and when the series resumes to be released into audio.

The reason I was wicked thrilled for a bit of a nudge during #FraterfestRAT 2019 – which has apparently become my ‘tradition’ to read a Clare Chase Thriller during the readathon – now two years strong here on Jorie Loves A Story – is I needed a segue back into reading Thrillers! I have struggled with my focus as foresaid and this readathon gave me the best [block] of time to just re-settle my heart into the stories themselves. I happily populated a *thread of tweets on Twitter and had the most joy in re-discovering where I would be picking up the story-line next to #TaraThorpe!

This is why readathons are a reader’s delight – they allow us the chance to rediscover why we love reading and they tend to take the pressure off the guilt whenever we cannot attach into the series we desire to be reading straight-away!

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Why I am enjoying engaging with Tara Thorpe & her series:

When you first start to listen to Murder on the Marshes, you don’t have too much time to consider what is being disclosed to you – the somberness is there, along with the tension of discovery – but to better understand the scene and what is happening – those moments are placed on hold. You are only giving a short glimpse of what is there – a flickering of an image if this were a film reel before it fades out and the impression of that moment, of that incomplete scene lingers as you enter the next chapter. This was a unique POV to be placed inside right before moving straight into present day – I love a good flashback sequence like the next person but this one felt honestly unique by how Chase gave only “just enough” to keep us curious before moving forward with a keenly taut & tight delivery of current events in Tara and Blake’s timelines.

As we shifted into present day, we arrive inside Tara Thrope’s life where the nightmares of her past are never far outside the shadows lingering outside her residence. Though those shadows were more ominous now – as someone could very well be lying in wait to return and to cause her duress. It was this uncertainty – of sensing something she couldn’t chase down herself which pinned her on edge and gave her the unease of realising she was as vulnerable now as she had been previously; she could not control all situations nor of someone who felt they could harass her into a panic. Part of this was due to how she arrived home but the other half of it stemmed from receiving a parcel in the post – a parcel which held such a curiously normal object but which was sent with malice and not a kindness of heart.

I thoroughly enjoyed observing DI Blake on scene – where Professor Seabrook is first discovered and where his investigation begins – ahead of meeting Tara where he is pulled into investigating how what happened to Tara might or might not interconnect with the Seabrook case. During this scene, there was a lovely piece of juxtaposition where Art History and crime investigation merged into a beautiful symmetry of insight – as Blake started to talk about Millais’s Ophelia. This was also a small gesture of introducing us into the reserved and private DI Blake – a bloke who did not readily disclose bits about himself unless he was in company he trusted.

It was around this time I had already noticed another series was being hinted at in the back of my mind: as the case itself was being discussed, it brought back memories of Scott and Bailey: Season One as this involved a roundtable approach to discussing the details and potential leads. I love Police Procedurals for this one reason – you get to tuck close to different opinions, different attitudes and personalities and different approaches in sleuthing out the truth. Everyone has to work together and everyone has a different role to place in the pursuit of justice. I think this is why I read a lot of mysteries and why I enjoy watching them as well – the percolation of personalities against the background of working together to solve a case.

When it comes to secondary characters and characters of whom I would love to see more often in future installments would be the pathologist Agneta Lawson. The reason Chase’s pathologist held my eye is because she had a unique POV on Blake whilst she was aces at her job; the added benefit truly being the narrator brought her to life, gave her a unique voicing which allowed me to consider her position and her character a bit more than if she hadn’t been presented in this unique way to a reader. This is one reason I love listening to audiobooks as you sometimes find yourself able to discern certain aspects of stories which might be lost or left unseen if your reading a story in print. And, vice versa of course! I also have a personal interest in pathologists as evidenced by the fact I love Abby from NCIS who makes a brill job at highlighting how hard their jobs really are outside of the work of Duckie (from the same series) equally brings forward.

Despite all the advancements Tara and Blake had made towards being a unified front, Tara was a civilian and Blake was having more trouble separating them as a ‘duo’ and respecting the fact she was on the outside. It was becoming especially difficult if you factored in his own personal strife and adversities affecting his mind and heart whilst he was working – as no matter how tough one appears to become for a high risk job where lives were on the line, being human was the one element which left everything subjective and challenging. Blake couldn’t resolve his personal life fast enough in order to have a less stressed professional life. You felt for Blake and you understood why Tara was approaching Blake the way she had been – as this is where it all felt a bit murky where two people who might never have meet were suddenly entwined due to circumstances.

Chase had a segue of interest outside of the main threads of interests wherein we tuck into the personal life of Tara Thrope – where we get to become better acquainted with her mother, an actress and of how Tara’s relationship with her Mum is sometimes a bit rockier than most daughters would prefer. Still, her family might have their quirks and their troubles but they were still approachable which I enjoyed seeing as it meant that they still cared about each other and were still an important part of Tara’s life. I felt from the very beginning her personal life with her family might be strained or close to it due to what originally occurred – referencing here how Kemp entered her life and why. Yet, the curious bit is how her Mum helped her pin down quite a few clues she couldn’t have sorted without her help. I had to smile there – as despite everything, Tara’s Mum held answers she couldn’t have found elsewhere!

One observation I was making was how this is like one giant chess board – where the players you’re not expecting to be the most evasive are in Academia & the ones who surprise you are outside of it; everyone moving towards each other & then away – great drama that! I would imagine it is hard to juggle the backstory against the current day cases whilst giving each equal measure of importance; plus having the believability of solid continuity about the setting (Cambridge) and the protocols associated with both police work and journalism. Nothing was sacrificed to convince you of the other things taking place – uniting you in a lovely puzzle of a crime drama where even the pieces you might feel you should overlook could prove to be the one piece you need to pull the whole picture together!

-quoted from my review of Murder on the Marshes

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A notation about Bookouture & Hachette Books:

In [2016] I created a series of interviews featuring #Bookouture authors: Teresa Driscoll (feat. ‘Last Kiss Goodnight’); Natalie Meg Evans (feat. ‘A Gown of Thorns’); Renita D’ Silva (feat. ‘A Mother’ Secret’); Debbie Rix (feat. ‘Daughters of the Silk Road’); Kerry Fisher (feat. ‘After the Lie’); Helen Pollard (feat. ‘The Little French Guesthouse’) and Tom Bale (feat. ‘See How They Run’). I’ve been striving to collect all of these stories for my personal library whilst intending to share my ruminative thoughts – as I personally love to showcase a guest feature ahead of reading the stories which intrigue my bookish heart! Of this list, as of Thanksgiving 2017 – I have happily acquired the audiobook version of ‘The Little French Guesthouse’ which is a next listen of mine this year! I have more to share about how I acquired this audiobook when I share my ruminations!

Whilst for the past few years I’ve been a book blogger reading INSPY (faith-based) and Motivational stories (of fiction and Non-Fiction) from Hachette Books (USA) imprints: FaithWords and Center Street. At the time of coordinating this interview with Ms Chase, I had missed the fact ‘Bookouture’ was acquired by Hachette UK. This marks my first guest feature and showcased story for Hachette UK : Bookouture! (see also the announcement of the acquisition)

Meanwhile, as per my announcement recently featured on The Sunday Post, No. 6 – I purchased a copy of the digital audiobook version of ‘Murder on the Marshes’ which I am looking forward to listening too. My ruminations are forthcoming on behalf of this first installment of the Tara Thrope series as being this is my own purchase I am not obliged to post my reflections on this novel, I am choosing to showcase my reactions as Ms Chase is an author I personally love reading! (see also my review of ‘You Think You Know Me’)

Previously, you will remember, I crossed paths with Ms Chase through my readings of ChocLitUK (of which I am a reviewer) whilst I have had the pleasure of getting to know her personally through my chat @SatBookChat (previously known as @ChocLitSaturday).

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On my connection to Clare Chase: When I started a chat in [2014] my path crossed with Ms Chase as she was a regular chatter of what is now known as @SatBookChat. Ms Chase and I started to notice our reading habits were aligning with each other, and her conversations were happy editions to my week as I liked finding someone else who liked the same types of stories I was gravitating towards myself. We continued to ‘chat’ about our reading habits even outside of #ChocLitSaturday (the previous name of the chat), which was a blessed joy for me.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Ms Chase through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse whilst I host #SatBookChat and privately as well. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time or continuing to read their releases as they are available. This also applies to hosting a guest feature by the author I share a connection.

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#SpooktasticReads Audiobook Review | “Death on the River” (Book Two: Tara Thorpe Mysteries) by Clare Chase, narrated by Lucy Brownhill [an audiobook I began listening to during #FraterfestRAT 2019]Death on the River
Subtitle: A gripping and unputdownable English Murder Mystery
by Clare Chase
Source: Direct from Publisher
Narrator: Lucy Brownhill

Meet Tara Thorpe – she’s Cambridge Police’s newest recruit… but her dark past is never far behind her.

When a body is pulled from the dank and dangerous fens on the outskirts of town, everybody assumes it was a tragic accident. But Detective Tara Thorpe, newly joined and determined to prove herself, suspects there’s more to the story.

Tara is desperate to investigate further, but her supervisor Patrick Wilkins has other ideas. He would rather die than let this ambitious upstart show him up – even if it means some digging in Tara’s secret past to keep her under his thumb. After all, it’s not like he can report her – everyone knows that his boss Detective Garstin Blake and Tara have a history…

When another body is found, it becomes clear that there’s a killer on the loose. Could the murders be linked to the secrets that Tara has been keeping from her team… and can she solve the case before another innocent dies?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781786817402

ASIN: B07JFT6DSG

Also by this author: You Think You Know Me

Also in this series: Murder on the Marshes


Genres: Amateur Detective, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Thriller


Published by Bookouture, Hachette UK

on 22nd October, 2018

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 10 hours and 3 minutes (unabridged)

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The Tara Thrope Mysteries:

Published by: Bookouture (@bookouture)

an imprint of HachetteUK (@HachetteUK)

Murder on the Marshes by Clare ChaseDeath on the River by Clare ChaseDeath Comes to Call by Clare ChaseMurder on the Fens by Clare Chase

Murder on the Marshes (book one) | (see also Review)

Death on the River (book two)

Death Comes to Call (book three) ← local library purchased!

Murder on the Fens (book four)

More insights & ruminations forthcoming on this series to Jorie Loves A Story!

Converse via: #TaraThorpe, #Thriller and #Bookouture

About Ms Clare Chase

Clare Chase

Clare Chase writes mysteries set in her home city of Cambridge and is fascinated by the location’s contrasts and contradictions. She’s worked in diverse settings – from the 800-year-old University to one of the local prisons – and lived everywhere from the house of a Lord to a slug-infested flat. The terrace she now occupies presents a good happy medium.

As well as writing, Clare loves family time, art and architecture, cooking, and of course, reading other people’s books. She lives with her husband and teenage children, and currently works at the Royal Society of Chemistry.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 23 October, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Amateur Detective, Audiobook, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookouture, Crime Fiction, England, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Indie Author, Investigative Reporter | Journalist, Modern Day, Psychological Suspense, Vulgarity in Literature

#FraterfestRAT Book Review | “Forget My Name” by J.S. Monroe [A Thriller #JorieReads with trepidation and discovers a #newtomeauthor who gave her a wicked puzzle to solve!]

Posted Saturday, 12 October, 2019 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I was invited to join the Head of Zeus blog tour for the Contemporary Thriller novel “Forget My Name” – except to say, there was a bit of a miscommunication. When the book arrived by postal mail, I was taken completely by surprise – which is why I shared this tweet s/o at the time of arrival. It was a few days lateron where I realised I was on the bonefide blog tour and my review was meant to post the final week of July.

Unfortunate timing on my end – I was quite ill the first three weeks of July whilst as I was starting to recover we had an epic flood nightmare which was due to a plumbing fiasco. Something I spoke about on Twitter and on several top anchors of my blog for different reviews. I was thoroughly spent and my energies to read were dismal. August brought more health afflictions and other stresses including a repeat of plumbing issues – to where, it wasn’t til the final weeks of the month where I could re-direct myself back into a few blog tours I had missed in late July. This was one of the ones I had to push forward in order to give it my proper attention.

I received a complimentary copy of “Forget My Name” direct from the publisher Head of Zeus in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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How I came to be reading “Forget My Name”:

Contemporary Thrillers are ones I love to find new voices in fiction as it is a niche of literature I am most curious about reading. Even if this particular niche of Lit has the tendency to push me outside my zones of comfort as a reader!

When Forget My Name first arrived by postal mail – it came with a curious little postcard and keychain – I love finding what is included with a novel, as authors or publishers sometimes include little surprises with the novels they send. Not everytime, but wickedly enough, whenever I find something other than the book included I get a giggle of joy because I love the inventiveness of some of the surprises! I, cannot have enough bookmarks – I even use the posties (ie. postcards) as markers as I’m reading inasmuch as the business cards! The keychain was an original find – I hadn’t had a custom mini-keychain featuring the cover of a novel previously!

I couldn’t get over the the surprise #bookmail – as at the time, I hadn’t received word I was receiving the book, only that I had requested to be on the blog tour. Therefore, it was a lovely day of expectations – I couldn’t wait to begin reading the novel but at the same time, I felt – did I push the envelope a bit too much for myself as a reader? I mean, this is a seriously psychological suspenseful Contemporary Thriller! I tend to err on caution (usually!) and not select too jarring of a read when it comes to my readings in Suspense & Thrillers; hence why you see my reading more Historical selections than Contemporary! I occupy that Historical niche of the genre quite well – yet whenever it comes to the contemporary and modern side of it? I tend to shirk past those shelves because for whichever reason they are a bit more intense, at times grittier and overall, I get the feeling I may or may not be able to handle what is coming down the pike in the story-line once you get past the opening bridge!

Ergo, my dilemma was how to begin reading Forget My Name – I dove straight into it – devouring the pages faster than I could attach notations about what I was reading. It was a pure read – til I pulled myself away and realised this was going to be one heck of a thrilling ride to read! I reached that section of when she first arrives at the house, is already inside and they’re trying to do a mad dash response to sort out whom this stranger is and what to do with her now that she’s arrived. Or, is that how Monroe wanted us to peer into those initial moments of when all the players come into contact (or return to each other)?

Thrillers are tricky. Perspective is everything. If your not looking at it the right way, you’ll going to find yourself seeing it through altered eyes and therefore altering how the story is meant to be interpreted. They key is to hold on tight and let the story unfold one trepiderious page turn after another!

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#FraterfestRAT Book Review | “Forget My Name” by J.S. Monroe [A Thriller #JorieReads with trepidation and discovers a #newtomeauthor who gave her a wicked puzzle to solve!]Forget My Name
by J.S. Monroe
Source: Direct from Publisher

She is outside your front door.

She got on the train after a difficult week at work. Her bag had been stolen, and with it, her identity. Her whole life was in there – passport, wallet, house key. When she tried to report the theft, her mind went blank. She couldn't even remember her name.

She says she lives in your house.

Now she's outside Tony and Laura's front door. She is certain she lives in their home.

But they have never met her before.

Would you let her in?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781786698063

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Crime Fiction, Thriller


Published by Head of Zeus

on 19th June, 2019

Format: UK Edition Paperback

Pages: 496

 Published By:  Published By: Head of Zeus (@HoZ_Books)
{imprint of} Simon & Schuster (

Converse via: #ForgetMyName, #Contemporary #Thriller
Available Formats: Hardcover, Trade Paperback, Audiobook & Ebook

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About J.S. Monroe

J.S. Monroe Photo Credit: Hilary Stock

J.S. Monroe read English at Cambridge, worked as a foreign correspondent in Delhi, and was Weekend editor of the Daily Telegraph in London before becoming a full time writer. Monroe is the author of eight novels, including the international bestsellers, Find Me and Forget My Name, both published by Head of Zeus. He also writes under the name Jon Stock.

Photo Credit: Hilary Stock

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Posted Saturday, 12 October, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Content Note, England, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Modern Day, Publishers & Presses (Direct Reviews), Realistic Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature

Book Review | “Queen’s Gambit” (Margaret Harkness and Arthur Conan Doyle series, Book Two) by Bradley Harper In this sequel to “A Knife in the Fog” Doyle is not the centre of focus, Margaret Harkness takes the lead!

Posted Wednesday, 18 September, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction. However, their imprints Seventh Street Books & Pyr were merged into Start Publishing in [2019] – wherein I had the pleasure of being approached by their new publicity team via Kaye Publicity in Spring 2019 wherein I was first introduced to the Spice Shop Mysteries as I was told about a forthcoming release [for June] was “Chai Another Day”. From there, I started to work with Kaye Publicity to continue reviewing Seventh Street Book titles and author releases I am both familiar with and/or are considered “new authors” to my readerly life.

As an aside, despite the fact Seventh Street Books has been bought out by Smart Publishing – all links to their website and social accounts have remained active and use the same urls. The new publisher has maintained all their sites and thereby, the transition was seamless for readers who wanted to keep in touch with the authors and the series they come to love by Seventh Street Books & Pyr!

I received a complimentary copy of “Queen’s Gambit” direct from the publisher Seventh Street Books (an imprint of Start Science Fiction) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On what I enjoyed in the pages of “A Knife in the Fog”:

This novel begins the series introducing us to all the key characters – from Professor Bell, to Arthur Conan Doyle and Margaret Harkness. As the series progresses forward – the characters shift in focus & share the lead.

A reflectively pensive voice gives us the impression the following account of an investigation into the Ripper murders of East London was in effect not only of profound impact on the narrator of this story (of whom I presumed immediately was Conan Doyle) but was in reality, an important marker of time for this person. It envelopes itself into a pertinent relationship of mind and arms; of a person who not only of equal mirth of enquiry and investigative instincts but of common interests and conveyances which were equally dynamic in their own rights. It is here – within the fragmented touchstones of what is yet to come where you start to distinguish the ‘voice’ of the novel A Knife in the Fog to being very decisively Holmesian.

Doyle, similar to Holmes does not suffer fools gently nor does he wish his personal or professional time to be waylaid but people who are less than honest with him on first meeting. It is here where you can infer how much Harper was researching his protagonist not just as the subject study to influence his own series but how Doyle himself could embody a lot of the characteristics we’ve all come to love in our beloved Holmes; than thus even more readily, it would be Harper who gives us a fuller advantage of seeing the inspiration behind Watson. The interesting bit here is of whom was the inspiring force behind both characters as your own mind might have readily adapted itself to thinking it was Doyle to Holmes and Dr Bell to Watson when the reality of the truth is a bit more intriguing to say the least! For my own capacity of interest – I did vacillate at first to make the distinction myself – as there are aspects of both men within both characters, however, there are firm clues towards whom is whom so to speak throughout the narrative Harper has delivered leading to the truer truth behind the designation of which current characters elude to the infamous ones!

Finding little details of historical influence and relevancy like this uncomfortable reaction in Doyle made it a joy to read A Knife in the Fog – as there are other small touches of where the past feels ever-present and where the narrative has a lovely tone and style of being decidedly British and Historical in scope. I believe it is this kind of detailed fine tuning in the story which help alight you into the era we’re being presented – it is lovely when you can find writers who are going the extra mile to give us a presentation of an era which we can find plausible and believable like what Mr Harper has done within his series. Although some of his words and phrasing is wickedly British, he does revert back to writing this in an American voice – I would have preferred it to be more British in the choices of words but blessedly it felt British by how he conveyed the backdrop of the setting and how he approached our immersion into Doyle’s life.

I, on the other hand, took an immediate liking to Margaret – she was her own person, owning her truths and her way of life with the confidence you’d expect from a woman of her nature. She did not apologise for her choices in life (nor should she) and she had an upper edge against Doyle as his presumptive assumptions about her were loudly present even if they were left unsaid aloud. Harkness is the kind of no-nonsense woman who was game for anything and had this zest for believing she could accomplish whatever she needed to simply due to the courage she had to believe in herself. Ironically, her dedication and her fortitude seemed lost on Doyle – at least at this first crossing of their paths.

You truly appreciate how Harper has sharpened our impression of Harkness, as my favourite passage which involves her and Doyle at this junction of the story is when she saves him from a would-be robber. The event itself isn’t a spoiler for the story but it is a clear representation of how foiled Doyle was in thinking he would have held an upper hand in this situation. I love how Harkness not only re-proves the point about how women can be independently secure in their beings but also be resourceful enough to intervene whenever danger arises. It was a classy look at how misconceptions in gender and how unnecessary misunderstandings within the classes of gender can put undo judgement against people. I personally felt it was a rather fitting sequence as it set a tone for how Doyle would view Harkness and how Harkness would become endeared to the reader.

I had a feeling I knew where A Knife in the Fog was directing me in regards to whom would become unmasked as the Ripper. Harper did something quite classic in how he developed the story-line, the characters and the persons of whom they encountered along the route of the story as it shifted forward – he kept you close to the dialogue, the discoveries and the case as it evolved through the investigation. All of which is brilliantly within the guise of the genre this story is set but he also did a hat trick from a magician’s bag of tricks – he re-directed your attention away from something you might have clued in on more readily if you weren’t equally distracted from addressing what it was you thought you had picked up on earlier in the story! Laughs. I actually was quite impressed how long the suspense lasted as it takes you straight (almost!) to the concluding chapters to where Harper knits together the conclusion (some) readers might not expect to be the solution to the mysterious identity of the Ripper. I, for one, felt it was a right proper choice – it staid within the scope of the journey we took walking beside Conan Doyle, Harkness and Bell whilst it also eluded to a reality you could find believable about this infamous case of crime.

It is in the final chapter wherein I felt reconnected to Conan Doyle – as for me, he held within his character (within the scope of the series) a bit more Holmesian attributes than I think Harper even realised he had etched into his nature. He might have meant for us to view Doyle differently but in the final chapter, there was a brilliant moment of recognition and also quiet acceptance of how this characterisation of Conan Doyle was a classic representation of why I have loved Sherlock Holmes. It is fitting truly, Harper has found his voice in fiction to be fulfilling a missing gap in stories which I believe the real Conan Doyle would have appreciated had he lived to see their publication.

-quoted from my review of A Knife in the Fog

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Book Review | “Queen’s Gambit” (Margaret Harkness and Arthur Conan Doyle series, Book Two) by Bradley Harper In this sequel to “A Knife in the Fog” Doyle is not the centre of focus, Margaret Harkness takes the lead!Queen's Gambit
Subtitle: A Mystery Featuring Margaret Harkness
by Bradley Harper
Source: Direct from Publisher

Spring, 1897. London. Margaret Harkness, now in her early forties, must leave England for her health but lacks the funds. A letter arrives from her old friend Professor Bell, her old comrade in the hunt for Jack the Ripper and the real-life inspiration for Sherlock Holmes.

Bell invites her to join him in Germany on a mysterious mission for the German government involving the loss of state secrets to Anarchists. The resolution of this commission leads to her being stalked through the streets of London by a vengeful man armed with a powerful and nearly silent air rifle who has both Margaret and Queen Victoria in his sights. Margaret finds allies in Inspector James Ethington of Scotland Yard and his fifteen-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, who aspires to follow in Margaret's cross-dressing footsteps.

The hunt is on, but who is the hunter, and who the hunted as the day approaches for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee when the aged empress will sit in her open carriage at the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral? The entire British Empire holds its breath as the assassin, Margaret, and the Queen herself play for the highest of stakes with the Queen’s Gambit.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781645060017

Also by this author: A Knife in the Fog, A Knife in the Fog (Interview)

Also in this series: A Knife in the Fog, A Knife in the Fog (Interview)


Genres: Amateur Detective, Classic Detective, Crime Fiction, Feminist Historical Fiction, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense


Published by Seventh Street Books

on 17th September, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 288

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The Margaret Harkness & Arthur Conan Doyle Mysteries:

per each installment either both are featured or only Harkness takes the lead

A Knife in the Fog by Bradley HarperQueen's Gambit by Bradley Harper

A Knife in the Fog (book one) – (see also review)

Queen’s Gambit (book two)

  • more installments are forthcoming!

This Summer I also featured an Interview with Mr Harper

Published By: Seventh Street Books (@SeventhStBooks)
an imprint of Start Science Fiction, part of Start Publishing

Converse via: #QueensGambit, #HistNov and #HistFic OR #HistoricalThriller
Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

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About Bradley Harper

Bradley Harper

Bradley Harper is a retired US Army Pathologist with over thirty-seven years of worldwide military/medical experience, ultimately serving as a Colonel/Physician in the Pentagon. During his Army career, Harper performed some two hundred autopsies, twenty of which were forensic.

Upon retiring from the Army, Harper earned an Associate's Degree in Creative Writing from Full Sail University. He has been published in The Strand Magazine, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine and a short story he wrote involving Professor Moriarty in the Holmes tale of The Red Headed League (entitled The Red Herring League) won Honorable Mention in an international short fiction contest. A member of the Mystery Writers of America, Authors Guild, and Sisters in Crime, Harper is a regular contributor to the Sisters in Crime bi-monthly newsletter.

Harper’s first novel, A Knife in the Fog, involves a young Arthur Conan Doyle joining in the hunt for Jack the Ripper, and has been nominated for an 2019 Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America for Best First Novel by an American Author.

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Posted Wednesday, 18 September, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, After the Canon, Amateur Detective, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Crime Fiction, Detective Fiction, England, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Margaret Harkness, Paste Creative, Realistic Fiction, the Victorian era